A paper trail and a pistol


Geraldine Sealey
June 1, 2004 6:42PM (UTC)

In case you missed it over the holiday weekend, there's an interesting nugget in Time raising more questions about Dick Cheney's cozy relationship with former employer Halliburton. The magazine obtained an internal Pentagon email that says Cheney's office coordinated a contract awarded to Halliburton for work on restoring Iraqi oil that was worth billions of dollars.

"Vice President Dick Cheney was a guest on NBC's Meet the Press last September when host Tim Russert brought up Halliburton. Citing the company's role in rebuilding Iraq as well as Cheney's prior service as Halliburton's CEO, Russert asked, 'Were you involved in any way in the awarding of those contracts?' Cheney's reply: 'Of course not, Tim ... And as Vice President, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the Federal Government.'"

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"Cheney's relationship with Halliburton has been nothing but trouble since he left the company in 2000. Both he and the company say they have no ongoing connections. But TIME has obtained an internal Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official -- whose name was blacked out by the Pentagon -- that raises questions about Cheney's arm's-length policy toward his old employer. Dated March 5, 2003, the e-mail says 'action' on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was 'coordinated' with Cheney's office. The e-mail says Douglas Feith, a high-ranking Pentagon hawk, got the 'authority to execute RIO,' or Restore Iraqi Oil, from his boss, who is Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. RIO is one of several large contracts the U.S. awarded to Halliburton last year."

Also in the latest Time magazine is an unrelated but similarly fascinating tidbit about George W. Bush keeping the pistol Saddam Hussein had with him in his "spider hole" when U.S. troops caught up with the toppled Iraqi dictator late last year. The president apparently keeps the sidearm as a trophy somewhere in his White House offices. Way to dispel public concern that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a personal vendetta and obsession of the president's.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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